Saturday, November 24, 2007

It's Heaving!

What is heaving, you ask. My house! In case anyone has wondered what I've been doing for the past month (obviously not blogging), I've been trying to figure what was going on with my house. There was trip to a conference in South Carolina thrown in there, but this has taken up a good deal of my time.

And, the answer is the house is heaving. Currently, the four outer corners of the house are higher than the inside. As mentioned in previous posts, I've had some issues with the house. When ceiling cracks kept popping up and then seams started showing up in the ceiling (where the sheetrock panels meet), I figured it was more than normal settling. Have I mentioned the driveway? It's got a crack in it big enough to stand a small pole up in and it's not level. So, I took a walk around the house and looked closely. You guessed it. I've got cracks in the brick on two sides of the house. I've also popped two corner caps, but everyone says that happens and it doesn't affect anything it just looks terrible.

Given the fact that my one year warranty from the builder is approaching the end, I decided to have the house inspected. What an eye opener. Yes, I know they tend to go overboard, but even keeping that in mind it was still a little unsettling. The first house I owned was also new and I never had any problems with it. Certainly not to the extent that I got a home inspector out there. And, when I sold it six years later, the inspector basically found nothing.

So, what did my home inspector say/find? Well, the number of cracks I have and the number of seams showing up are NOT normal (ya think?). They are signs that the foundation is shifting. He said he has never seen a driveway as bad as mine, even on 30 year old homes. The drainage sucks, but I knew that and have been trying to tell the builder that for some time. They made a half hearted attempt to fix it, but it didn't do anything. Let's just say I'm really soggy on both sides of my house.

According to the home inspector - the gutters are installed wrong, the roof was put on wrong (and there are raised nails on a portion of the roof allowing shingles to flap in the breeze), and one of the post tension cables from the foundation was never cut and sealed (you can actually trip over it) and another wasn't sealed properly after it was cut (the builder didn't this was a big deal, but the home inspector did, so I'm not sure what to think). Those are the biggies; there were some other smaller issues.

The next step was to have a foundation company come and look. He's the one who determined it's heaving. Basically, it was built during a drought and then we got a LOT of rain. Add poor drainage to the mixture and you get a house that moves. It's not going to fall down around my knees, but I can expect cracks and other things to continue to happen until the house "settles" - in about 5-8 years. I also think some of my problems are due to poor craftsmanship. The builder is a good one. The only thing I can figure is they did a lot of the work on my house on a Friday afternoon.

Needless to say, I'm not a real happy camper. My first house was a breeze; that's why I bought new again. You don't expect these types of problems with a new house. I've requested the builder pony up for repairing cracks, etc in the house for an extended time. Not sure what they are going to do. Not sure what I'm going to do. I expect there will be movement again as we head into winter. Question is - do I want to commit to the aggravation of cracks and other fun stuff or do I want to bail? I just don't know right now. If anyone has any thoughts on the subject, please share. :)